There is of course World Cup news we could talk through today, but why on earth would we do that when there is just a few glorious crumbs of Arsenal news we can focus on first, eh? I feel a sense of elation, like a man searching for an oasis in the desert, that comes to a patch of green land and a man standing in the middle of the tropical haven wearing a waiters outfit, only to tell me that all they have for me to drink is not water, but Dr Pepper and cream soda. Horrendous stuff, but I’ll drink it to save myself from certain doom. So when I heard about not just one, but two fixtures have been re-arranged/scheduled in Arsenal’s season after the World Cup, well, I was simply delighted to be able to start to think about something not related to international football. Lord knows what I’ll be like before the week leading up to Christmas…

Yep, it appears that our game against Man City at home finally has finally been given its own home in the domestic calendar, which will be on Wednesday 15th February at 7.30pm. That’ll be sandwiched in between a home game to Brentford and an away trip to Unai’s Villa for us, which isn’t ideal because Villa will have a full seven days to prepare for us having played City the weekend before. City themselves have that Villa game at home, then Forest away, which may or may not be an easier game depending on how low down the table Forest are. For them though the challenge is of course balance between all of the games they are playing in because in the following week they play in the Champions League to RB Leipzig. For us, it goes to show you just how important topping our group in the Europa League was, because it means that we aren’t in European competition until 9th March and then 16th March. And with us knocked out of the League Cup, we don’t have matches to be concerned with in January that will be added in.

That leads me to our second fixture announcement that happened yesterday, which was that we’ll play Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup. It’s a shame that Oxford is such a small ground, as I’d have definitely gone to that game if the stadium was a little bigger, but I suspect tickets will be a little hard to come by. That match is due to be played on 7th January and the fourth round is 28th January. If we get past Oxford we’ll be talking about playing a team after the United game and before the Everton game on 4th January, but it will mean a full six days rest between United at home and the FA Cup, as well as a week before we then have to travel to Everton. The fact we’re playing Oxford of League One might also mean Mikel can afford some rotation in his side, which would be welcome given how tough our January is. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that it could have been a lot worse. Chelsea have to travel to City, West Ham travel to Brentford, Southampton travel to Crystal Palace and Everton and United are up against each other. Those are quite a few all Premier League ties and if you want to go deep in the FA Cup and you draw a Premier League side, then you’ve probably got to play a stronger team than you’d want. Of course the Scum get their usual easier home draw against Portsmouth to ensure they get safe passage, but at least from our perspective we have an interesting travelling day and an opportunity to play a different opponent. I’ll take an away day at a bigger ground at the end of January, thank you very much.

In the World Cup Granit Xhaka took on the Gabby’s in the Switzerland versus Brazil game and I can only conclude – having not been able to watch the match due to work commitments – that the reason it was only 1-0 to the Brazilians was because they didn’t give enough minutes to the Arsenal boys. I’ve just looked at a few of the player ratings on a few of the football sites and they’ve given Richarlison a five out of 10, which sounds about right, and maybe the nation of Brazil needs to accept that the diving Scummer that he is, he needs to be taken out of the team and never seen for the Selecao. Gabriel Jesus replaced him and although I didn’t watch the game, I know that he had more of an impact. That’s obvious. I don’t need to see any of the actual football, that’s all I’m willing to accept. We move on.

Thomas Partey was at least happy, even if Granit Xhaka wouldn’t have been, because his Ghanaian team overcame South Korea and whilst I bear no particular ill will towards the people of South Korea, seeing Son crying and Partey smiling is the best outcome anybody could – and should – be wishing for. I had that game on in the background and it was a great game to listen to, with the Ghanaian’s looking in control at halftime, the Koreans pulling it back to 2-2, before they Black Stars did the business one more time to secure the tears of the South Korean Tottenham forward. I’m surprised Son didn’t do more to help Korea win – like cheat, kick or generally be a nasty little sh*te. But kudos to the Ghanaian coach who tried to take a selfie with him whilst he was crying. The South Koreans still have an opportunity to go through I think, if Ghana lose to Uruguay and Korean can rack up a decent score against Portugal, so I’m not quite sure what all the tears were about. But again, maybe it’s because he hadn’t cheated his way to a penalty to help his team win the match.

Other than that I think there’s not too much to talk about. Today’s matches will see the first batch of final group games to decide things and we have the Group A games up first. This is the point I don’t like in the competition though, because there isn’t football on basically all of the time. They move the kick offs so you have to choose what you want to watch and so if I get the chance I’m most likely going to stick Ecuador versus Senegal on at 3pm. That game has something riding on it, because although the Netherlands versus Qatar also does in that the Dutch need to win to secure top spot, it’ll be a non-event given how poor Qatar are. Then in the evening game at 7pm UK time it’ll be England versus Wales and Iran versus the US. England need to just not get battered to go through but they have to go for the win to top the group because that will probably be the difference between playing the Netherlands and one of Ecuador/Senegal. Although having seen the Netherlands I do wonder if finishing second and having to play them might be a better idea. The quarter finals is then when it probably gets difficult as it’ll be one of France or Argentina, as I suspect they’ll get through their respective groups. But those permutations can probably wait until all of the third group matches are done.

And speaking of done, that’s me for the day – have a good one, enjoy your day, i’ll catch thee in the morrow.